(Image via soundbetter.com)
Staff Writer: Rena Danho
If you’re searching for your new favorite artist, look no further than CHYLD– a local, up-and-coming musician.
CHYLD, an indie/pop musician, is someone to keep on your radar. CHYLD is a Massachusetts native, and although his Spotify discography is slim, he was nominated for Best New Artist and Best Album/EP by the Boston Music Awards this year.
I was lucky enough to be able to interview CHYLD and ask him questions about his life and his music.
What inspired you to make music?
CHYLD: “My first experience with producing music was when I was a kid when I messed around with some cheap software. But I would say Skrillex was a big influence on my producing, and Daft Punk inspired me to DJ and create music.
I would say that I’ve always been surrounded with music. My parents were always playing music around the house, and we had a piano, so I was always able to play on something and teach myself instruments. I think my main inspiration is my parents for helping me to keep my mind open to doing something musical.”
What is your process for making music?
CHYLD: “Typically, I start very simple because it’s difficult to start with a complicated idea and write it all down. It starts with an idea of simple melodies with my vocals, or I’ll write it on the piano or on the guitar. If I do write it on the piano, I will translate it to Ableton, where I produce it.
For me, lyrics take a while because writing isn’t my strong suit. Lyrics always take a while, and sometimes they evolve over months and months. But sometimes it’s, like, instantaneous. If there’s a word I hear or I think of a melody in my head, I’ll record it on my phone.”
How did COVID affect making music for you?
CHYLD: “This is going to sound weird, but it actually opened up a lot of opportunities because right when COIVD hit, I had lost a job that I hadn’t cared too much about. It was kind of a miracle in a weird way.
Obviously, not playing shows was a bummer, but I’m usually just either in the studio or in my room, so being quarantined was a blessing. Making music was all I did all day, so I feel like I definitely had time to evolve as an artist. It gave me more time.
I had also gone through a bad breakup, so because of that, I wasn’t doing too good. That whole summer was pretty much a lot of time to myself, and that’s what led to all the sad EPs coming out.
When I think back now, I kind of wish I had taken more advantage of the time I had to quarantine. I also spent time chilling and playing video games or bored making arts and crafts, but I wish I would’ve grinded even more.”
Would you say that where you live has influenced the music you make?
CHYLD: “I’m a strong believer that your surroundings affect your process and your output, so I think that no matter where I was with my music, I still would have discovered the same artists that have influenced me.
For example, a lot of the stuff I do is virtual– like ‘ANTIDOTE,’ which we did right before COVID, and that is virtual. I’ll have different times when I need to change my setting for where I’m making music, so yeah, the environment really has a lot to do with what I make.”
What was the hardest part of getting out there and getting people to notice your music?
CHYLD: “It’s all hard. The hardest part was the feeling of, like, ‘I’m putting so much work into this.’ When you’re starting out, you think, ‘Why are these people who aren’t as talented as me bigger than me?’
Of course, I look at it so differently now. Everyone has their own journey, and I think that social media has a lot to do with it. It’s like an illusion when your stuff doesn’t seem to react well on social media.
A lot of people, including myself– especially ten years ago, when I was just starting out– have a lot of depression about that. It’s an upsetting thing when your stuff doesn’t get as much of a reaction as you thought.
But anyone in music is familiar with rejection. It’s a lot of rejection, and whether you’re submitting to blogs, music labels, or playlists, there’s like a 99% rejection rate. I would say that 99% of making music is incredibly hard.
It’s very hard trying to break through and get your stuff noticed. Good timing is a huge part of it. Timing and sticking to yourself. Keeping belief in yourself because you are your biggest supporter.”
On Spotify, your top song is “ANTIDOTE” with Mickey Darling. Do you think “ANTIDOTE” represents you and is a good gateway into your music?
CHYLD: “It’s funny because I don’t think it is, but it is. To give you a little back story, all I had when I presented ‘ANTIDOTE’ to them was, like, the first 10 or 20 seconds of the song. It was gibberish. It was a demo take, I had never finished the final vocals, so I just sent the demo. And we ended up keeping it in there.
That is probably a big part of what my music is. Just feeling out the vibe without a lot of lyrics. That main synth is a CHYLD sound. That’s the first track people listen to once they know who I am. It’s usually a good reaction because it’s so upbeat.
I’ve started to make more music like that because of that song. ‘ANTIDOTE’ was a song that was out of my comfort zone because I knew that I wanted to work with Mickey Darling. They didn’t vibe as much with the first demo I sent them, so then I made ‘ANTIDOTE’ because I wanted to make it sound upbeat. So I tailored it for them, but I wanted to make it mine, too. I’d say it was a fairly good representation, and it’s just a fun vibe.”
Your next two songs are “Mess This Up” and “Easy on Me.” Do you think those are better representations?
CHYLD: “The most accurate representation of my music is “Easy on Me” because that’s the most recent song. I want to keep pushing that envelope.
I also feel like ‘Mess This Up’ is completely different than ‘ANTIDOTE,’ but I got to work with my favorite producer on that song, so that one means a lot to me. So when people hear that one, they think, ‘oh, so you make lo-fi music,’ and I’m like… not really. That song is definitely a calm or lo-fi feeling, and ‘Mess This Up’ is interesting I’m attached to it, and I love it, but ‘Easy on Me’ is my favorite for sure.”
What is your favorite song that you’ve created?
CHYLD: “I call them my babies. ‘Easy on Me’ is my most recent baby that I’ve released, so I’d say that it is my favorite. But if I really had to pick a top song, it would be tough. I’ve been attached to my song ‘Daydream.’ I could honestly pick one from each EP, but if I had to pick, I would say ‘Daydream.’ I went crazy when I made ‘Daydream,’ it gave me such a crazy feeling, but I think it might be my favorite if I had to pick.”
Are there any artists that you dream of collaborating with?
CHYLD: “There are a lot. I’m such a big Kendrick fan. I don’t know if a collaboration with him would ever work, but that would be a dream. Or even Baby Keem, or I’m obsessed with Brakence, so those would be dream collabs for sure. There’s a lot, I could go on and on, but I’d say right now in this moment it would be a dream to collaborate with Kendrick. Final answer.”
Is there a reason for your stage name being CHYLD?
CHYLD: “I wanted something that didn’t sound corny. I had a bunch of ideas, and I was asking my parents and pretty much anyone else for advice. I think CHYLD hit me because I like how it has the “CH” because my name is Chris. So ‘CH’ just felt right, and the ‘Y’ in the middle looks aesthetically pleasing. It’s very symmetrical, and I felt like it best reflects the music I wanted to make, which is fun, carefree, and childish at times.
It looks good, and it’s simple, which is why I liked it and thought that it felt right.”
Where do you hope to see your music in the future?
CHYLD: “This is kind of silly and random, but to be honest, The Tonight Show. People have different measurements of success, but if I could perform on The Tonight Show, that would be a dream come true.
There are so many things that I’ve shifted my focus to, and right now, I just care about making a good living off of my music, but The Tonight Show has always been a dream.”
Do you have any advice for people trying to get their music out there?
CHYLD: “Be patient. Be very, very patient. I also teach music, and one thing I see in my students is that if they’re trying to learn an instrument, they’ll say, “When do I get good?” It takes time.
They don’t see their progress, but I do. It’s about patience. A lot of trial and error and experimenting.
A lot of people say that it’s who you know, too, and it is. Some connections can help a lot, but don’t force them. The ones I’ve made have helped me a lot, and a lot of connections happened out of nowhere with good timing.
Like I said, be prepared for a lot of rejection.
If you’re just starting out and thinking of putting your music on Spotify, just do it. Just try it out. You’re gonna fail so much. I still fail all the time. You’re gonna fail all the time, too. Just keep trying and never stop. That’s very cliche to say, but it’s true. You can’t stop. Keep pushing yourself, but don’t go so hard that you throw your mental and physical health off-balance.
Go hard enough that you are challenging yourself every day, and just be patient. Be very, very patient.”
Did you ever think you would end up where you are today?
CHYLD: “Honestly, I think it looked different in my head. I’ll put it this way: Ten years ago, when I was very frustrated with myself, I had a notebook that I would write positive thoughts in. I remember drawing myself on a big stage. In my head, I would picture the House of Blues in Boston, and I got to play at the House of Blues last year, but it was different. I just put the same little crappy setup that I’ve had for years up on that stage, and I was like, ‘this doesn’t feel like how I thought it would feel.’ It’s weird.
There’s still so many things I want to do. I feel very grateful because I’ve always dreamt of just one goal: living off of my music. Sometime last year, I realized that I”m sort of doing that, and it’s nice, but there’s still so many things I want to do.
Everyone’s idea of success is different, and I’m just focused on being happy. I’m focused on my partner, my family, and living off of my music.”
*Article updated on March 1st, 2023 to embed artist songs within text.